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“ About the year 1400, a violent outrage was committed upon the Waldenses, who inhabited the valley of Pragella, in Piedmont
, by the Catholic
party resident in that neighbourhood. The attack, which seems to have been of the most furious kind, was made towards the end of the month of December, when the mountains were covered with snow, and thereby rendered of difficult access, that the peaceable inhabitants of the valleys were wholly unapprized that any such attempt was meditated: and the persecutors were in actual possession of their caves, ere the former seem to have been apprized of any hostile designs against them. In this pitiable plight, they had recourse to the only alternative which remained for saving their lives—they fled to one of the highest mountains of the Alps, with their wives and children, the unhappy mothers carrying the cradle in one hand, and in the other leading such of their offspring as were able to walk. Their inhuman invaders, whose feet were swift to shed blood, pursued them in their flight, until night came on, and slew great numbers of them before they could reach the mountains. Those who escaped were, however, reserved to experience a fate not more enviable. Overtaken by the shades of night, they wandered up and down the mountains, covered with snow, destitute of the means of shelter from the inclemencies of the weather, or of supporting themselves under it by any of the comforts which Providence has destined for that purpose: benumbed with cold, they fell an easy prey to the severity of the climate, and when the night had passed away,
there were found in their cradles, or lying upon the snow, fourscore of their infants deprived of life, many of the mothers also lying dead by their sides, and others just upon the point of expiring."
This was the work of the holy. Roman church, and a thousand such things she has done. It was done by authority of the head of the church, with the concurrence of his prelates and patriarchs, and by the agency of kings and princes, who degraded themselves by becoming the common executioners of the ghostly father of Rome. I should not bring such things against Papists of the present day, if they would honestly say, that they condemn the conduct of the head of the church for such barbarous proceedings. But they will do no such thing. I never heard of one of them who would say that the pope had done wrong, in commanding the slaughter of so many thousands of men, women, and children, for the sake of religion. I hold them all, therefore, guilty of consenting to the bloody work of their fathers; and it is not unfair to infer that, if they were placed in the same circumstances, and had the same power over heretics, their conduct would be the same.
INTRODUCTION OF POPERY INTO SCOTLAND. PERSECUTIONS THERE, AND IN ENGLAND.
INDIGNITY TO THE REMAINS OP WICKLIFFE. MANY SUFFER DEATH IN GLASGOW FOR DENYING CERTAIN TENETS OF THE ROMISH CHURCH. PARTICULAR ACCOUNT OF THE EXECUTION OF PATRICK HAMILTON. OF HENRY FORREST. ANECDOTE OF CATHARINE HAMILTON, SISTER TO THE MARTYR. ACCOUNT OF TWO OTHER EXECUTIONS IN GLASGOW.
Saturday, October 17th, 1818. It was not till towards the end of the eleventh century, that the church of Scotland was brought into full conformity with that of Rore. The simplicity of the Culdean mode of worship was preferred by our fathers for ages after other countries in Europe, not excepting England, had submitted to the superstitious and ridiculous mummery of the Romish church. This simplicity of worship was called barbarism, by the popish writers of those days; as, I believe, our mode of worship is esteemed barbarous still, by those who prefer the popish ritual. Margaret, queen of Malcolm Canmore, who has been canonized as the patroness of Scotland, was the instrument of bringing the church to a nearer conformity with Rome, both in doctrine and worship. She was an Anglo Saxon princess, and having been educated on the continent, where she had been accustomed to witness the same pompous rites, she was much offended by “certain erroneous practices," which prevailed in the Scottish church. She was at great pains to annihilate those barbarous rites which were contrary to. the universal practice of the church. Her arguments at length prevailed. The people were persuaded to keep Lent at the proper time, to celebrate mass in the proper manner, and, I suppose, to become in every respect good Christians, according to the will of the queen. It would appear, however, that, after her death, many relapsed to their former "beastly rites," as a popish saint was pleased to denominate the simple worship of the Culdees.
In the twelfth century, it is affirmed, by popish writers, there were Waldenses to be found both in England and Scotland, so that the thick darkness of popery did not rest long upon our highly favoured country, without being relieved by a few rays of heavenly light. “In the year 1160, some real Christians sought in Britain an asylum from the persecutions of Germany. But, alas! they found only a premature grave. Regarding them as contemptible heretics, the writers of these times record their history in a way so cursory, and confused, that it is difficult to ascertain facts. It is, however, confessed that the leader of these refugees, whose name was Gerard, was neither ignorant nor illiterate, though we are told his followers were, because, it seems, they made no other reply to the cavils of their enemies, than, "we believe as we are taught in the word of God." These simple people received such treatment from the popish rulers in England, as their brethren did in Germany and France. A council was called by the king, to meet at Oxford, to try these heretics, whose number, it seems, amounted to no more than thirty. They were not likely to meet with either mercy or justice, from an assembly of haughty prelates. They were condemned-branded on the forehead publicly
whipped out of the town—and, being turned into the fields, in the depth of winter, when all were forbidden to relieve them, they perished. Even their enemies allow, that they behaved with great calmness and moderation; and when the inhuman sentence was executed upon them, they sang, “Blessed are ye when men shall hate you, and persecute you.
2." WARNER justly observes, that “their conduct was worthy of the best and most righteous cause, and would incline one to think favourably of their doctrine." These were probably the first martyrs in Britain, for pure Christianity; at least, the first that suffered from the church of Rome. What now shall we think of the assertion of modern Papists, that persecution was scarcely known in any Christian country, till it was practised by Protestants? The fact is, wherever there appeared the smallest symptom of any person being about to form his own judgment on matters of religion, from the word of God, he was considered a fit subject for the fire, and such is the hardening influence of popery upon the hearts of people otherwise humane, that it renders them perfectly insensible of the miseries of fellow-creatures; it makes them even delight in inflicting tortures, if it be only for the sake of the faith. England, in the twelfth century, was not a country of savages. Considerable progress had been made in civilization, but it was a land of Papists; and, therefore, thirty poor strangers, who sought an asylum among them, and who were guilty of no crime, but professing to believe what they were taught in the word of God, were branded, and whipped, and with their bodies thus lacerated, they were driven from the abodes of men, and left to perish of hunger and cold, in the depth of winter! The above fact is related by Bogue and Bennet, who refer to Warner's Ecc. Hist. Petries' Ecc. Hist., and Gillies' Collections.
The popish writers affirm not only that the Waldenses were found in England and Scotland, but they mention Wickliffe as one of their followers; and every reader of history knows what he and those who embraced pure Christianity suffered from their popish rulers.Through the powerful influence of John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, Wickliffe was indeed saved from the fury of his persecutors, and suffered to die a natural death ; but the council of Constance, which burned Huss, condemned Wickliffe as a heretic; and by its order his bones were dug up and burnt, and the ashes thrown into a neighbouring brook. This deed of impotent rage was the deed of the holy church in council assembled; and is therefore chargeable upon the church herself, and not upon any individual bishop or king.
At Glasgow, in the year 1422, James Retby was burnt for denying that the pope was Christ's vicar. I have no doubt many suffered before this date; but Retby is the first that remains on record, and he is mentioned by Knox, whose history commences at this year; and begins with remarkable extracts from the records of Glasgow. The historian observes, " that it was by the merciful providence of God that such things, as are after-mentioned, were kept even by the enemies of truth, in their registers, to show that God preserved, in this realm, some sparks of his light, even in the time of the greatest darkness.” In 1431, Paul Craw, a Bohemian, apprehended in the university of St. Andrews, suffered death there. His enemies put a ball of brass in his mouth, that what he said for the truth, might not instruct the people
Wickliffe is said to have received the knowledge of the truth from one Lollard; hence, those who embraced the same sentiments were called Lollards, and they appear to have been numerous in both parts of the island, before the end of the fifteenth century. In the year 1494, thirty persons of those called the Lollards of Kyle, (that is, part of Ayrshire,) were accused before Blackadder, archbishop of Glasgow, of about thirty-four articles contrary to popish errors. Among these Lollards were George Campbell of Cesnock, Adam Reid of BarsKimming, John Campbell of New Mills, Andrew Shaw of Polkennet, Helen Chamber Lady Pokellie, and Isabel Chamber Lady Stair.Archbishop Spotswood informs us what sort of errors were held by those Lollards of Kyle, of which the following are a specimen:—That images ought not to be made or worshipped ;—that the relics of saints ought not to be adored ;-that it is not lawful to fight for the faith;—that after the consecration of the mass there remaineth bread, and that the natural body of Christ is not there;—that every faithful man and woman is a priest ;—that the pope is not the successor of Peter, except in that which our Saviour spoke to him, “Go behind me, Satan ;'--that the pope deceives the people with his bulls and indulgences;—that the mass profiteth not the souls in purgatory;that the pope exalts himself above God, and against God ;-that priests may have wives, &c. “ The archbishop of Glasgow laying these things to the charge of the above persons, they answered all with such confidence, that it was thought best to demit them, with an admonition to take heed of new doctrines, and content themselves with the faith of the church. The archbishop's accusation is said to have been very grievous, yet God so assisted his servants, partly by inclining the king's heart to gentleness, for several of them were his familiar friends, and partly by enabling them to give bold and godly answers to their accusers; so that, in the end, the enemies were frustrate in their purpose. Adam Reid, in particular, gave such answers as turned the cause of the persecutors into ridicule, in the presence of the court where the king presided."-See Spotswood and Gillies' Hist. Coll.
Those worthy persons of Ayrshire thus escaped the fury of their persecutors; but no thanks to the archbishop of Glasgow, or to the church of Rome, who would gladly have had them all at the stake. Considering the articles laid to their charge, one is astonished that they should have acquired so much spiritual light in an age of darkness, while yet the Bible had not been printed in their language, and Wickliffe's translation in manuscript must have been possessed by few of them.
Blackadder was not the only archbishop of Glasgow, who distinguished himself as a persecutor. Spotswood remarks of Beaton, who was translated to St. Andrews, “that herein he was most unfortunate, that, under the shadow of his authority, many good men were put to death for the cause of religion, though himself was neither violently set, nor much solicitous (as it was thought) how matters went in the church.” I cannot sustain this apology of the Scottish Protestant primate on behalf of his popish predecessor. If good men were put to death under his authority, he was undoubtedly their murderer; and that he was not solicitous how matters went in the church, only presents his character in a light so much the worse. He was a Papist,
however, and I believe not worse than the average of popish bishops, -he would rather have seen half the nation brought to the stake and burnt, than that one man should be allowed to read the Bible, and form his own judgment of its contents.
It is not my intention to write an ecclesiastical history; nor do I intend to narrate all that our fathers suffered, on account of religion, from Papists, and men popishly inclined. If such were my intention, I could not flatter myself, or my readers, with the prospect of
a termination of my labours in less than seven years. I must be indulged, however, in relating one or two instances, to show the true spirit of popery, and what may be expected if that system shall again obtain the ascendancy.
Of the “ many good men" that suffered death under Archbishop Beaton, Archbishop Spotswood says,—" The first that was called in question, was Mr. Patrick Hamilton, abbot of Ferm, a man nobly descended, for he was nephew to the earl of Arran, by his father, and to the duke of Albany, by his mother, and not much past twenty
of age. This young man had travelled in Germany, and falling in familiarity with Martin Luther, Philip Melancthon, Francis Lambert, and other learned men, was by them instructed in the knowledge of true religion, in the profession whereof he was so zealous, as he was resolved to come back into his country, and communicate the light he had received, unto others. At his return, wheresoever he came, he spared not to lay open the corruptions of the Roman church, and to show the errors crept into Christian religion; whereunto many gave ear, and a great following he had both for his learning and courteous behaviour to all sorts of people. The clergy grudging at this, under colour of conference, enticed him to the city of St. Andrews; and when he came thither, appointed friar Alexander Campbell, to keep company with him, and to use the best persuasions he could to divert him from his opinions. Sundry conferences they had, wherein the friar, acknowledging that many things in the church did need to be reformned, and applauding his judgment in most of the points, his mind was rather confirmed than in any sort weakened. Thus having stayed some few days in the city, whilst he suspected no violence to be used, under night he was apprehended, being in bed, and carried prisoner to the castle; the next day he was presented before the bishop, accused of maintaining the articles following."— These are substantially the doctrines of the reformation. Confessing that he held some of them as undoubted, and others as disputable, he was put to trial,-condemned as a heretic, and delivered over to the secular judge. The same day, (for the execution was hastened, lest the king, who was gone at that time in pilgrimage to St. Duthac, in Ross, should impede the proceeding,) he was condemned by the secular judge, and, in the afternoon led to his place of suffering, which was appointed to be at the gate of St. Salvator's college. Being come to the place, he put off his gown, and gave it
, which his bonnet, coat, and other apparel
, to his servant, saying, this stuff will not help in the fire, yet will do thee some good; I have no more to leave thee but the ensample of my death, which I pray thee keep in mind. For albeit the same be bitter, and painful in man's judgment, yet is it the entrance to everlasting life, which none can inherit, who denieth Christ before this